Lakshmi Sushma Daggubati, Product Manager at Mastercard, has a unique knack for taking a problem and transforming it into an industry-changing solution. She’s known for pioneering user-centric payment solutions and stands out as a visionary within the digital payments sector. She employs a comprehensive approach to product lifecycle management that is deeply embedded in user-centric growth strategies, and this has propelled her to the forefront of innovation in this domain.
But it all has to start somewhere. Daggubati became the first person in her family to graduate college. Humble beginnings are often the bedrock of greatness; and her story is no exception. She was determined to make a name for herself, and sought education in the US, earning her master’s degree at the Missouri University of Science & Technology, where she emerged as a proactive researcher.
During her studies, Daggubati worked as a research assistant, contributing to the publication of an article and successfully defending her thesis. This period of academic rigor was complemented by her practical experience gained through an internship at Mastercard, which eventually led to a full-time offer from the company upon graduation.
At Mastercard, Daggubati quickly adapted to her role, facing the challenges of being a release manager for Payment Transaction Services. Her responsibilities included managing the entire software release process, a task she executed with commendable skill, overseeing eight releases annually. Despite her success in this role, Daggubati‘s quest for broadening her technical horizons led her to transition into software development. Here, she delved into coding, code review, and other critical support activities.
Daggubati then took on the role of a production support engineer, addressing production issues and contributing significantly to customer work orders and incident management. Daggubati has an exceptional ability to handle the full spectrum of product lifecycle management, from conception to deployment, and has earned certifications in PMP, ITIL, Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, and AWS Solutions Architect Associate, among others.
“My philosophy in product management centers around the user,” Daggubati shares. “I believe in a holistic approach that encompasses every stage of the product life cycle, from concept development to deployment and operations. The payments industry is highly competitive, and the key to success lies in technological advancement and in how well a product resonates with its end-users.”
Daggubati is an advocate for product-led growth, in which the product itself drives customer acquisition, expansion, and retention. This approach relies heavily on the product’s inherent value to engage and retain users, so it’s important to build a product that offers a seamless and intuitive user experience, so that it speaks for itself in the market.
User onboarding is another critical area of Daggubati’s expertise. “I feel that the onboarding process needs to be as smooth as possible,” she says. “It should educate users about the product’s value proposition right from the first interaction. I employ methods that clearly explain to users how the product works as well as its potential to solve their pain points. This way, drop-offs are reduced; and user engagement and retention is increased.”
Daggubati also places a strong emphasis on community building. She recognizes that a loyal user base is an invaluable asset, and always seeks to build a community around her products. Thus she creates advocates who provide valuable feedback and help in organic growth through word-of-mouth. This strategy has been pivotal in building a sustainable user base and in driving continuous product improvement.
Innovation in product management, especially in a field as dynamic as digital payments, requires more than just a good strategy; it necessitates a collaborative and inclusive team environment. Daggubati’s leadership style is inclusive, valuing diverse perspectives and encouraging open communication. This culture of collaboration keeps her team aligned with the vision and is motivated to innovate.
“I empower my teams by entrusting them with autonomy and encouraging them to take ownership of their work,” Daggubati shares. “It’s been my experience that such empowerment leads to a more engaged and motivated team that is capable of creative problem-solving and innovation.”
In product development, Daggubati incorporates various methodologies like Agile, Scrum, and Lean Startup, which allow for flexibility, adaptability, and a focus on continuous learning and improvement. Integrating these methodologies creates an agile team that is responsive to user needs, and constantly evolving.
The impact of Daggubati’s user-centric approach is evident in the success of her products in the digital payments industry. She places the user at the center of product development, and thus has been able to create solutions that consistently exceed user expectations. Her products stand out for their technological innovation as well as for their ability to provide a truly satisfying user experience.
“I strongly believe in a comprehensive approach to product lifecycle management and a deep focus on user-centric growth strategies,” Daggubati affirms. Her work demonstrates the power of these methods, and her expertise in areas such as product-led growth, user onboarding, community building, and her innovative methods in fostering a culture of collaboration and inclusion, illustrate the profound impact that a well-rounded, user-focused approach can have in shaping successful products in today’s digital age.
Disclaimer: The thoughts expressed are those of the subject and not of the employer.